Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Methamphetamine Fact VS Fiction and Lessons from the Crack Hysteria” by...





A Speech on "Methamphetamine Fact VS Fiction and Lessons from the Crack Hysteria” by Professor Dr. Carl L. Hart
Form The Conference on directions of the World Drug Policy after UNGASS 2016 and the reconsideration and interpretation in drug laws of Thailand
On 15-16 June 2016 
By the Supreme Court of Thailand in collaboration with the Royal Initiative of Her Royal 
Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha, 
Office of the Narcotics Control Board, 
and Northern Substance Abuse Center, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University 
At Ballroom B-C, Lobby level, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok


Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday said not even President Rodrigo Duterte or Congress can waive the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea amid warming ties between Manila and Beijing. | INQUIRER.net



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Carpio: Duterte, Congress can’t waive PH rights over West PH Sea
Gov’t urged to protest Beijing acts despite friendlier ties
INQUIRER.net / 12:57 PM May 11, 2017


Senior Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio talks about country’s stake in the West Philippine Sea during a forum in Club Filipino in San Juan City. INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday said not even President Rodrigo Duterte or Congress can waive the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea amid warming ties between Manila and Beijing.

Asked if the President could be breaking Philippine laws with his remarks and actions in connection with China, Carpio said Duterte should be careful in making “unilateral statements” as he is the one recognized to “bind the country.”


“Because the ruling involves sovereign rights, it says the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, so the sovereign rights cannot be waived by the President or anyone. I don’t think even the Congress can waive that. Only the people can waive that. So if government officials waive that, it can be betrayal of public trust,” Carpio said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

Carpio was referring to the United Nations-backed arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea and favored the Philippines based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He was instrumental in Manila’s filing of the case.

Since his election in May last year, President Duterte has forged a “recalibrated” foreign policy that veered away from dependence on the United States and shifted toward friendlier relations with China and Russia.

Duterte, who is facing an impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo group over his alleged mishandling of the South China Sea case, has repeatedly said that the Philippines can’t match China’s military power.

But Carpio said the Philippine government should keep on protesting Beijing’s reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea despite the country’s relatively weaker military capacity. Beijing, which refused to recognize the arbitral ruling, continues to develop artificial islands in the Spratlys archipelago.

“If we are no match with China, we don’t have to waive it. You can insist even if you can’t physically get it but you must keep on insisting. Because if you waive it, it’s gone forever. The moment we concede our sovereign rights, we cannot take it back because China will never give it back. That’s why we have to be very careful,” the justice said.

He said, “We have many cards to play that are not confrontational.”

Carpio cited Vietnam, one of the claimant countries in the disputed seas, as a possible model for the Philippines. Hanoi maintains good trade relations with Beijing despite a strong stance in the maritime row.

“I would take the approach of Vietnam as the model because Vietnam is very strong in resisting China’s encroachment but they continue to have very strong trade relations with China. A lot of Chinese companies operate in direct export zones. It’s not an ‘either or’ because they were able to separate these issues and China would accept that,” Carpio said.

“If we adopt that attitude that we don’t want to displease China, we’ll never get back our exclusive economic zone. Every time China fortifies its claim, build something there, we will not displease China. It will end that way. We have to protest every act of China, any attempt to increase or enforce its claim,” he added.

Carpio has recently launched a book that questions China’s claims to the disputed seas, which he said he will distribute online in Mandarin so it could reach Chinese people. 

- CBB/rga

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"Despite attempts by the Philippine delegation to justify the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and to present a positive picture of its achievements on the political, economic, social and cultural rights of the people, most of the attending states still raised serious concerns on a host of human rights issues that remain unaddressed," lawyer Ephraim Cortez, co-head of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation to Geneva, said in a statement.



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PHL gov't gets failing grade in human rights review, advocates say
Published May 12, 2017 4:18pm
By MARLLY ROME BONDOC, GMA News

The Philippine government received a failing grade at the recently concluded UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for its supposed inability to justify its claim that there is no "sudden wave" of state-sponsored killings in the country, human rights advocates said Friday.

"Despite attempts by the Philippine delegation to justify the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and to present a positive picture of its achievements on the political, economic, social and cultural rights of the people, most of the attending states still raised serious concerns on a host of human rights issues that remain unaddressed," lawyer Ephraim Cortez, co-head of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation to Geneva, said in a statement.


Included in the report was the proposal to allow without conditions UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard to investigate the thousands of killings being blamed on President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

It also called on the government to invite Callamard without further delay for an official visit in line with UN terms of reference.

France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary and Latvia were among the countries that called on the Philippine government to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation without any conditions and delay.


Cortez said the recommendations showed that "not much has changed in the human rights situation in the Philippines" as it was similar during the first and second cycles of UPR.

"The recommendations relating to women’s right, children’s right, the rights of migrant workers and of the indigenous peoples glaringly show that not much is being done by the Philippine Government to protect the rights of these vulnerable sectors, nor was there any improvement at all to ensure the protection of the peoples’ social-economic and cultural rights," he said.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano led the Philippine government panel on presenting the human rights situation in the country before the UNHRC in Geneva.

During his presentation, Cayetano denied that there was a "sudden wave" of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. He also asked the UNHRC to visit the Philippines to check on the situation.

He had also said that “fake news and alternative facts” made it appear that Duterte was “acting with impunity."

Meanwhile, Cortez said the Philippine UPR Watch welcomes the recommendations from UN member-countries.

"This is evidence not only of the lack of serious effort on the part of the Philippine Government to address these observations, but also of the ineffectiveness of its Philippine Human Rights Plan which did not at all help in curbing these violations,” he said.

Cortez, meanwhile, said the Philippine UPR Watch also plans to submit its report and recommendations on the human rights situation in the country to both panels of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines peace negotiations “as part of a process of taking the government to task to fulfill their obligation to heed the voice of human rights advocates from the country and abroad." —KBK, GMA News.

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See - 
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/610537/phl-gov-t-gets-failing-grade-in-human-rights-review-advocates-say/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_campaign=news#sthash.91dEAxgM.dpuf

Duterte's P8.2T infra program may force PHL into ‘bondage’ – analyst | Money | GMA News Online




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Duterte's P8.2T infra program may force PHL into ‘bondage’ – analyst
Published May 14, 2017 12:26pm

President Rodrigo Duterte's P8.2 trillion infrastructure program may sink the Philippines into deeper debt, an analyst said in a Forbes article on Sunday.

Anders Corr, founder of Corr Analytics, said in a contributed article to Forbes that the Philippines' plan to spend P8.2 trillion or approximately US$167 billion on infrastructure projects during Duterte's six-year term may put the country into "virtual debt bondage."

"Dutertenomics, fueled by expensive loans from China, will put the Philippines into virtual debt bondage if allowed to proceed," Corr said.

Dutertenomics is the current administration's economic and development blueprint.

Corr said that the fund that will be used for the Duterte administration's infrastructure program will bring the total national government debt of the Philippines to US$290 billion (P14.4 trillion).

"More likely according to my analysis, at 10% interest the new debt could go to $452 billion, bringing Philippines’ debt:GDP ratio to 197%, second-to-worst in the world," he said.

He added: "That understates the burden to the Philippines, as existing national government debt would also accrue interest over that time, and such interest was not included in the analysis."

In his article, Corr assumed that a big chunk of funds that will be spent on the Duterte administration's infrastructure program will come from China.

Worst-case scenario

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had said that taxes will largely fund the P8.2 trillion infrastructure program, which includes at least 30 big-ticket projects in the next five years.

Diokno did confirm that China may offer the Philippines an interest rate between 10% and 15% in the repayment of its debt.

"Without much needed transparency from the Duterte government and China on the rate, conditionality, and repayment terms of $167 billion of new debt for the Philippines, the public should assume, to forestall a worst-case scenario, that the rate would be somewhere between 10% and 15%," Corr said.

Over 10 years, the Philippines' debt:GDP ratio will balloon to 296%, the highest in the world.

Japan currently has the highest debt:GDP ratio at 250.40%, according to Trading Economics while the Philippines' current debt:GDP ratio is at 42.10%.

Corr said that if the country's debt:GDP ratio balloons to 296%, it will not be able to repay China.

"The Philippines will have to give political and economic concessions to China in order to repay annual interest, or renegotiate such a large quantity of debt," he said.

Among the political concessions that the Philippines may give to China is to give up "territory or oil rights in the South China Sea... it could include economic concessions, for example selling China its national companies, or agreeing to below-market rates on exports to China."

The Philippines may also be driven to reach out to other countries to be able to repay China. If the government reaches out to Russia, Corr said it may agree to give out a loan to the Philippines "with even stiffer terms."

Corr also alleged that the President and "his influential friends and business associates" would benefit from the administration's infrastructure program through "finders fees."

He said Filipinos should demand transparency in the Duterte administration's dealings with China.

"These interest rates, and all details of the deals, need to be made public and approved by the Philippine Congress, or the loans should not go through," he said.

Joma's concerns

National Democratic Front (NDF) Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria "Joma" Sison was also concerned over the government's alleged borrowing program.

"Can the Philippines really borrow the huge amount of USD167B from China at so fast a rate?" he said in a Facebook message. "Will not the Philippines become a debt slave of China?"

Sison added that the reforms being talked about by the government and communist forces could be derailed by such borrowing plans.

"Will not the drive to build, build, build infrastructure (rails, roads and bridges) draw resources away from a program of national industrialization proposed by the NDFP in the negotiation of CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms)?" he said.

Aside from this, Sison also questioned the credibility of dealing with China, given past controversies.

"Does not the Philippines have already bad experience in making deals with China, such as the overpriced NBN-ZTE and NRT scams during the [Gloria Mapagal-] Arroyo regime and the P3B wasted on defective trains from China during [Benigno Simeon C.] Aquino [III] regime?" he asked. — ALG, GMA News.

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- See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/money/economy/610707/duterte-s-p8-2-t-infra-program-may-force-phl-into-virtual-debt-bondage-analyst/story/#sthash.i0nbfNzO.MEhHvNiC.dpuf

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